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IRF Mourns the Passing of Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt"l

October 7, 2013

The International Rabbinic Fellowship joins with the whole House of Israel in mourning the great sage, posek and Chief Rabbi of Israel, Chacham Hagaon Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt"l.

Rabbi Yosef was born to a poor Jewish family in Baghdad and rose to prominence through his awesome scholarship which touched on every aspect of the life of contemporary Israel and his total dedication to Torah study. 

R. Ovadia was blessed with an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire corpus of rabbinic and halakhic literature, a keen mind, and a fearless sense of the responsibility of the posek to take on difficult issues. He wrote about the importance of being guided by the policy of searching out legitimate halakhic leniencies when at all possible- Koach de-heteira adif.

Some of his best known and most influential rulings included the freeing of the widows of the Israeli submarine Dakar disaster, his ruling which paved the way for the immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel under the Law of Return, and his rulings on Land for Peace. He also played an important role in the political awakening of Mizrachi Jews in Israel and in the founding of the Shas Party, which has consistently been among the major forces shaping the political life of the modern State of Israel. His halakhic writings are now a standard and irreplaceable part of every rabbi's bookshelf, and his true influence will only be known over time. 

May his memory bring blessing to the whole Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora.

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